How universities are navigating the uncharted waters of higher education
Over recent years, the leaders of many UK universities have steered their institutions into previously unexplored seas, including international ventures, public-private collaborations and a fiercely competitive marketplace for students and fees. They have encountered few dragons, but many have found these new worlds to be far less predictable and much riskier than the government-funded and secure domain they reluctantly left behind.
This is the report of our sixth annual survey of university vice-chancellors. It explores how vice-chancellors are steering their institutions through the new risks and uncertainties of higher education (HE) markets, and their predicted outlook for their own institutions and the wider sector.
 We use the term ‘universities’ as shorthand for all types of recognised public and private higher education provider
 We use the term ‘vice-chancellors’ to embrace all heads of higher education institutions
Mike Boxall and Paul Woodgates, PA higher edcation experts discuss PA’s annual vice-chancellor survey which sets out a growing sense of grievance from universities towards government.
Our report paints a picture of a resilient and capable university sector responding confidently to changing business situations – but there are some disconcerting paradoxes behind this self-assured portrayal.
“Damage is already being done by immigration controls but the situation could get much worse if we were to destabilise the country’s reputation by further discouraging the free movement of students and academics” - UK university leader
“I don't think the government knows what it is doing and, worse, it doesn't seem to care. It views the market as sovereign and seems not to be bothered about the consequences.” - UK university leader
What are your thoughts?
Many vice-chancellors welcome a more dynamic and direct system, which will create both opportunity and risk.
“There is an emerging polarisation between institutions that have positioned themselves strongly in the free market and those that have been forced into defensive behaviours; it is the uncertain situation of the latter institutions which is most likely to result in sector instability.” - UK university leader
identified the challenges of generating sufficient student fees and other income to replace lost government grants as a major or moderate constraint.
...and do not foresee sufficient revenue or return becoming available from new HE markets and services
To find out more, contact the authors of the report Mike Boxall and
What are your thoughts?